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Archive for April, 2009

happiness…?

Imagine you run into an ad in a newspaper. It “asks” you directly: “do you want to be happy?” or “are you looking for happiness”. Your reaction, I bet, is to think “what are these guys trying to sell here?” or something similar. Am I right? Why is so if, obviously, happiness (called happiness, called satisfaction, called love or whatever your values are) is what people are looking for? Is it so difficult to admit that we want it? I don’t think so. Still, almost everyone would laugh at this ad…

While many authors suggest that people are somehow predetermined to have a level of happiness (nowadays psychologists and other specialist are able to measure it), saying that we can’t increase this level and keep it at a higher happiness’ range for a considerable amount of time, others say just the contrary (leaving hope for those of us who are not as happy as they wish). The majority, however, agrees that happiness is not really what happens to us, it’s what we do with it- how we tend to interpret it, how we live this positive event and the way we chose to think about it.

I know that many of you will disagree with me, but I think that some nations are more and other less positive. In my opinion, it is strongly connected to some countries’ History. If you ask a Pole “how are you?”, even if he was happy, he would answer “I’m fine, but…”. We, Polish people, just as Argentinians and many others, are greatly gifted with these capacities to find something to complain about. Our imagination in this field is unlimited. And even if there was nothing, you still have the weather…

From little I observed during my travelling and when I could meet people from other countries, happiness is not really about getting the materialistic satisfaction. When most of us achieve something at an economical level, we feel happier. But after a certain amount of time- different for each of us- this feeling goes away. At this point, in general, we simply want more.

Studies, as those of Diener (2000) and Csikszenmihalyi and Hunter (2003) confirm this theory. I even heard about similar studies on lottery winners; after some time the excitement would go away and they would be just as happy/unhappy as any other person.

My personal experience suggests exactly the same. Even though as a person, a woman, I like to own some things, have economical freedom, the things I buy or receive do not have a real long-lasting influence on my level of happiness. What works much better, is a general sense of well-being and a good emotional balance in my personal and professional life.

Therefore, as a life coach, I believe that positive psychology is extremely helpful in coaching (thus, simply in life). And please don’t misunderstand positive psychology with being positive whatever happens- positivity is considered to have a good influence only if one responds in a natural way to the events, being even critical if necessary.

I experienced the difference between negativity/ambivalence/positivity while I was myself a coachee (or client). My coach would guide me so I could start to perceive the life in a different way. It allowed me to react in a much more positive way, and this, well… at least in my case, increases effectiveness to realize tasks, my ability to achieve goals and remain focused on wanting to achieve them, makes me capable to respond better to the difficulties I am confronted to, makes me simply feel incredibly better. It makes the world much more beautiful- not only for me, but also to the ones I share my life with. And now I really sound like if I was from this “happiness'” ad!

a happy picture

a happy picture

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I would like to invite everyone to join my group on Facebook, called simply “Life Coaching”. I want this group to be a place to share our experiences with coaching, our impressions and opinions, ask questions and to laugh together a little bit if possible 🙂

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acknowledgments

As many of you know or just read recently, 2 weeks ago I launched my website: www.coachingyounow.com

I am really proud of the job I did, even though I am not sure if this website is what my prospective clients would expect to see, if all the information they might be looking for is there.

If you have any suggestion or commentary, please don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Renee and Lucas for the help they provided during the website construction. If it wasn’t for them, it would have been much, but really much more difficult.

Happy Easter everyone!

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the role play

It has happened to all of us at least once. We wanted to talk to someone (ACTION) about a difficult situation that concerned both of us or about something that needed to be changed, etc. (GOAL). Just before deciding to take this step, we thought a lot about what might happen, what he or she would do and how we would or would not reply (POSSIBLE CHALLENGES DURING ACTION).

When I say “we thought”, I mean that we could imagine this person’s face, reactions, we could hear what he or she would say and what, of course, we feared to hear because we weren’t sure if we knew how to deal with the situation.

A rehearsal. A rehearsal of highly stressful situations is life coaching’s answer to this kind of issue. Of course, it’s not as simple as I presented it in this sentence, because the whole solving-problem process is far more complicated, but eventually you can get to the point when your coach will suggest to rehearse or to role-play. I know it might sound artificial or childish and be far from what you would thought the best for you. It can even seem useless- how can a coach imagine what your boss, your father, your girlfriend will say?

He can only imagine, basing his role play on the information provided by the client and the attitude of the other person that the client fears. If, for instance, your boss is mean, the coach will do his best to be… mean. If your girlfriend is sarcastic, well, your coach will be sarcastic too (but only during the role play!).

Why would you deliberately let someone do that to you? Well, to rehearse, be prepared. A role play has many qualities. It is done in a safe environment for the client. It can be stopped any moment. It can be repeated many times in many ways. The purpose being to get the client to a place where he feels self-confident about the upcoming “confrontation”, when he stops fearing it or at least is not as anxious as before the role play. The client gains clarity about what and how he wants to communicate.

How many times did you try to tell something to… your mirror? Well, my experience says that it’s a good exercise but also that a life coach is more effective. Isn’t that the point?

For more information about coaching: http://www.coachingyounow.com

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